Google Summer of Code/Application 2010

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1. Describe your organization.
  • The Apertium project develops a free/open-source platform for machine translation and language technology. We try and focus our efforts on lesser-resourced and marginalised languages, but also work with larger languages.
  • The platform, including data for a large number of language pairs, a translation engine and auxiliary tools is being developed in several universities and companies around the world, with the most of the development on the engine being done by Prompsit Language Engineering (Elx, Spain) and also by the Transducens research group of the Universitat d'Alacant (Alacant, Spain).
  • There are currently 23 published language pairs within the project (including a number of "firsts" — for example Spanish—Occitan, Breton—French, and Basque—Spanish among others), and several more in development.
2. Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2010? What do you hope to gain by participating?
  • We are very interested in seeing Apertium improve as both a research and development platform, and also as a platform for spreading free/open-source software in the translation world. As a whole, and as we did in GSoC 2009, we will benefit from increased participation from outside the core group of developers: we will get new or improved resources which will help to improve translation quality for users and developers alike.
  • We have found that although it is possible to attract developers interested working on language pairs, it is more difficult to find developers who are interested in work on the engine, so we would hope to find students interested in "diving a bit deeper".
3. Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.
  • Apertium participated in GSoC 2009. We finally got 9 slots, and 8 out of the 9 students selected succeeded.
The report we have in [1] is unfortunately incomplete
4. If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?
  • n/a
5. What license(s) does your project use?
  • GNU GPL 2.0/3.0
6. What is the URL for your ideas page?
7. What is the main development mailing list for your organization?
8. What is the main IRC channel for your organization?
  • #apertium on
9. Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now.
  • We expect students to contact us using IRC or e-mail; we will make sure we get the following information from all applicants:
  • Name, e-mail address, and other information that may be useful for contact
  • Why is it you are interested in machine translation?
  • Why is it that you are interested in the Apertium project?
  • Which of the published tasks are you interested in? What do you plan to do?
  • Applicants should also include a two- to eight-page proposal, including a title, reasons why Google and Apertium should sponsor it, a description of how and who it will benefit, and a detailed work plan including, if possible, a brief schedule with milestones and deliverables. Include time needed to think, to program, to document and to disseminate.
  • List your skills and give evidence of your qualifications. Tell us what is current field of study, major, etc.
  • Convince us that you can do the work. In particular we would like to know whether you have programmed before in open-source projects.
  • Please list any non-Summer-of-Code plans you have for the Summer, especially employment and class-taking. Be specific about schedules and time commitments. we would like to be sure you have at least 20 free hours a week to develop for our project.
10. Who will be your backup organization administrator?
  • Gema Ramírez Sánchez
11. What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible.
12. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
  • Students will be encouraged to let us know how they want to break up their time, and to try and plan for holidays and absences. This will avoid both mentors and students wasting time. If a mentor reports the unscheduled disappearance of a student (72-hour silence), they will be contacted by the administrators. If silence persists, their task will be frozen and we will report to Google.
13. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
  • It is quite unlikely, since all of the mentors are very active developers, with long-term commitment to the project. If a mentor fails to respond adequately to a student, they will have been instructed to contact the administrators. The administrators will examine the situation; if disappearance (48 hour silence) is confirmed, they will be assigned a different mentor and Google will be informed.
14. What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?
  • Developers who have been chosen as mentors will be available for as long as possible at the #apertium IRC channel, so that the student may receive guidance with any problem they may have during development and before taking decisions on which task to select.
  • As we did in 2009, we will try to get them involved as early as possible in the project, by granting them developer status, so they can modify code and data as any other developer would.
  • Depending on the number of projects chosen for development, we will organise a workshop in Alacant such as the one we organized last year (FreeRBMT'09) so that the students may present their work in an academic setting to the wider group of developers and to the community in general.
15. What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?
  • We will ensure that their work is well publicised and appreciated among the development community, this often gives a developer impetus to continue.
  • Whenever there is a relevant research or development component in their work, we will make sure they can use it as part of their undergraduate or graduate work, and offer guidance when writing papers.
  • We feel that the field of machine translation is fascinating, and as soon as they've spent a few months developing, they'll be hooked for life!